I love the run up to Christmas, the atmosphere is truly jolly and fizzing with anticipation, wishing, prepping, planning, stressing! I love that more or less everyone comes together and experiences and shares the run up all together, religious or not, honouring Christmas day in whatever means they like all with our own personal fondness towards the 25th of December.
Now to the cookies!… These are soft, spiced and chewy; their texture and flavour a cross between snickerdoodles and gingerbread. The mixed spice is like a soft hug with each bite that compliments the star ingredient, BUTTERNUT SQUASH. Butternut squash is in season throughout autumn and winter in England, it is naturally sweet and when roasted the sugars within it’s orange flesh caramelize. I’ve used squash not only for it’s incredible flavour but as a binder, replacing the need for eggs and butter. You could also swap the squash with roast pumpkin or sweet potato if you have these leftover instead. Cut the dough into any shapes you like depending on the time of year etc(I used a star cutter about 7cm in diameter) but ,just remember the cooking time may very slightly from what’s stated in the recipe so keep your eye on them and if you feel you need to bake them for longer, do this in two minute bursts and remember that the cookies will harden up slightly as they cool.
These cookies are the perfect healthy treat to enjoy during the run up to Christmas. They are naturally sweetened with apple puree and are made with wholemeal flour which adds a complimenting depth to the spices and is healthier than refined white flour which can spike blood sugar levels in some people.
(This recipe makes about 18 cookies)
- 100g butternut squash (peeled & cubed)
- 15ml olive oil
- 100g apple puree
- 150g flour
- 25g oats
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
1. Toss the squash in the olive oil and roast for 30 minutes at 200 degrees until soft and starting to brown. Leave the squash to cool completely, then pour the squash with all it’s oils into a food processor/blender and blitz to a smooth puree.
2. In a large bowl mix the puree with the apple sauce until amalgamated. Add the dry ingredients and stir until its just begins to form a dough. It’s important not to overwork the dough otherwise you will end up with tough cookies.
3. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour, roll out the dough to 1/2 cm thick and then cut out your desired shapes. I rolled out my scraps twice more, being careful not to over knead the dough when squashing the pastry together and rerolling it. Place the cookies on lightly greased trays before baking at 170 or 160 degrees for fan assisted ovens for 8-10 minutes.
4. Once baked, the cookies should still feel soft to the touch at the centre but the edges slightly golden. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack as soon as possible so they don’t continue cooking on the hot trays.
These are divine eaten warm but just as good cool. Perfect to satiate that 4pm energy slump or as a secretly healthy, sweet treat packed into children’s lunch boxes! These cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days, stored in an airtight tin container, in a cool dry place.